NEW DELHI: Sir Viv Richards, who had he played Twenty20 cricket would have taken to it like a fish to water, believes that leagues such as the IPL have led the way in shaping cricket’s fast-moving landscape.
Writing in today’s Times of India, the swashbuckling West Indian legend gave credit to the lucrative Twenty20 league as being an agent of change in cricket’s facelift.
“Cricket is quickly evolving, and the IPL is one of the foremost agents responsible for doing so for the last 10 years. Young cricketers and old alike are innovating and reshaping their game, inventing new shots, and coming up with new mystery deliveries,” wrote Richards.
“The face of the game is beginning to change, and cricketers today are looking to keep adapting to stay with it. It pleases me to see that the overall level of cricket as a game is increasing due to these kinds of tournaments that put the young and old, the amateur and the experienced together. IPL has always put a lot of emphasis on developing youngsters. These fresh faces will gain experience.”
Watching the 11th season of the IPL, Richards singled out table-toppers Kings XI Punjab and second-placed Chennai Super Kings as the teams to beat. “From the looks of things, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings seem to be looking very strong. However, it seems both teams will have to work a little more on the overall team contribution. They have won games due to superb individual performances rather than wholesome team efforts,” he wrote.
There was recognition of fellow West Indian Chris Gayle’s barnstorming success in three matches for KXIP, which have seen the Jamaican score 229 runs at a strike-rate of 170.89.
“What a sight Chris Gayle has been to behold! Having been picked only in the last round of the auction, many had written him off, claiming that his best years were behind him. It’s good to see the confidence that he has when he steps on to the pitch. The same poise can be seen in the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell, which I think bodes well for cricket in the Caribbean,” observed Richards, who is West Indies’ third-highest Test run-getter with 8540 and fifth-best in ODIs with 6721.
“Cricketers like them possess a certain amount of experience and adaptability. The IPL this year has put the versatility of the game on display for all. This is credit to the batsmen as well as the bowlers.”